One of the world’s “greatest ever” Paralympians Neil Fachie has thrown his support behind plans for a bike and skateboard park in Ellon.
Cyclist Neil Fachie, fresh from breaking a world record at the Paralympics in Tokyo, has lent his support to the proposed Ellon Wheel Park.
Plans are under way for a unique, 650-yard-long, all-in-one park for skateboarders, mountain bikers, cyclists and BMX fans in the town.
Aberdonian Fachie smashed the world record to win Paralympic gold on Saturday.
‘The word legend is often overused…’
The 37-year-old finished in a time of 58.038 in the B 1000m time trial as he claimed his second Paralympic gold, following his London 2012 success.
Chair of sportscotland Mel Young said: “The word legend is often overused in the world of sport. But that is exactly what Neil Fachie is.
“He is one of the world’s greatest ever para-cyclists and it was a joy to see him on that podium once again.”
Fachie’s support of Ellon is in a video backing the plans, calling it a “win-win for everyone concerned”.
The local community has rallied round the project, with councillors, schools, police and community groups giving their backing to the plans, which also received a 99% approval rating in a survey.
The backing of 14 times world champion Fachie has given the Ellon Wheel Park committee another huge boost.
In quotes: Neil Fachie’s support for Ellon
“There’s no doubt the roads around the north-east are beautiful – they’re incredible,” said Fachie.
“But, getting out there on your bike isn’t for everyone, whether that be safety, your ability, or accessibility concerns.
“That’s why I’m backing Ythan Cycling Club in their bid to create a wheelpark, which is going to have cycling, traffic free, for anyone in the community to come along and have a try.
“I’m all about cycling being for everyone, and this kind of facility is the sort of thing that makes a difference.
“Particularly to youngsters, to those who aren’t capable of getting out on the road, whether it be through different disabilities, whatever the background might be.
“This is a huge opportunity to really develop cycling in the north-east – something I’m very passionate about.
“This sounds like a win-win for everyone concerned.”
— C4 Paralympics (@C4Paralympics) August 28, 2021
More north-east Olympians to come?
Fachie’s support for Ellon wheel park could start a trend, it is hoped.
Ellon Wheel Park committee chairman Colin Allanach said the committee were “absolutely delighted” with Fachie’s support.
He said it was good that Fachie recognised the importance of developing facilities to promote cycling as a recreation and a sport.
He added: “Hopefully this means more Olympians from the area in the future!”
Over the summer, the committee successfully raised the £12,000 needed for a feasibility study, which is currently ongoing. The results are due within the next month.
The next step will see the group come up with detailed designs for the wheel park.
Once these are in place, they will seek planning permission.
The group submitted an expression of interest to SportScotland, after the body launched an £8 million fund for cycling facilities. The fund coincides with Glasgow’s hosting of the Cycling World Championships in 2023.
During the 1980s BMX craze, Ellon residents signed a petition in their droves for a dirt track for the town.
The then Gordon District Council rejected the plans. However, funds for that campaign have been redirected to the current project.
The group hopes to open the Ellon Wheel Park in 2023, to tie in with that year’s world championships.